Studies show employee engagement results in higher profits, increased performance, higher customer satisfaction, and lower employee turnover. Recognizing, engaging, and rewarding your team members creates a highly energized, focused, and
motivated unit—a team driven by performance, delivery, and accomplishment. IT leaders need to invest and make reward and recognition (R & R) a core value and find ways to improve services and performance by assuring the development and success of their most important asset—people.
Based on presentations I recently delivered on this topic, I believe there are five roads of success to create high performing teams
1. Motivation: Individuals are motivated in one of two ways, according to Daniel Pink in his book DRIVE. Intrinsically, something inside you that pushes you to do something you enjoy. This leads to the individual being more engaged, appreciated, and recognized. Extrinsically, individuals who require a push from external forces such as a football coach yelling at you to help run harder, focus more, etc. This style of managing with fear is “old school” and does little to motivate individuals long term.
Individuals are motivated by different methods, but it’s rooted in a person’s value system and what they feel is important to their core beliefs. Many think money is the number one motivator; however, that is not always the case. Money helps, but what about the volunteer activities you do on your own personal time? What motivates you to participate with a professional organization, a ministry, a church, or volunteering at a local sports league coaching your children? How much money are you making there? Exactly!
2. Teamwork: A quote by Max Lucado, “Conflict is inevitable….Combat is optional” speaks to me about how to deal with bumpy roads and roadblocks. If everyone always got along, we wouldn’t have conflict and life would be easy. Conflict can be good for building great teams and trust. The decision is yours to make. Will you make it a point to have good conflict or will you be combative?
In Patrick Lencioni’s book, Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he states that the foundation of all teams is trust. Absence of trust is the number one reason for failed relationships and teamwork. Trust within team members allows for positive conflict, commitment to decisions, team member accountability, and achievement of desired results.
3. Recognition: How well do you know your employees? Do you know much about their families and spouses or their children’s names? What are their interests? When providing recognition to your team members, learn about them so you can provide meaningful rewards. For example, buy lunch for the family when your team member is working on a special weekend project.
I recently had our team complete a profile template to learn more about them. Each member completed questions and posted the paper on their desk. Each profile had a picture of their family, pet, or something describing them. I had them share their profile during a recent team meeting. Now when I want to connect with each team member, I have several talking points I can engage with and start a conversation. This has helped the rest of the team to learn more about each other. During this exercise, I realized we had several cooks on our team. As a result, we are planning a cook-off day in the near future. Reach out to me if you want a copy of the template.
Keep in mind, recognition can be done with little or no money. It takes creativity and willingness to ensure your star employees feel their contribution means something.
4. Engagement: According to The Carrot Principle book, a survey by HealthStream research of 200,000 employees, only 40% of employees were highly engaged and highly satisfied. When your team members are not engaged, productivity is impacted. Those who are highly engaged add value to your team and are always looking for ways to improve processes. They are the team members who challenge you and are committed to the organization.
Engaged team members are always the first to volunteer, work the extra hours, and take on extra assignments. They set the example, and you can predict their future will be successful. With these star performers, your hope is for them to grow within your organization and move on and receive promotions to different departments. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to continue to challenge your team members as you watch them grow.
5. Appreciation: How are the best actors and sports stars appreciated for their work? Oscars, Emmy’s and MVP awards. Each industry has a method to appreciate the hard work done on a daily basis. These awards are given to the best. For the IT service industry, we celebrate our analysts and desktop support technicians through HDI’s annual awards. There are five key criteria used to determine the HDI Analyst of the Year and Desktop Technician winner: customer service, team commitment and value, knowledge sharing, leadership, and technical aptitude and knowledge. When creating this blog, I noticed how the “five roads to impactful employee engagement and success” align with criteria used to determine the winner of HDI’s awards.
I hope these ideas help you implement recognition programs, appreciate your employees and build high performing teams within your organization. Share in the comments section ideas you have used in the past leading you to the five roads of impactful employee engagement and success.
You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @eddievidal and LinkedIn.
For more great ideas on rewards and recognition, join us for a webinar tomorrow:
The Secret of Effective Rewards and Recognition
Thursday, March 6
11:00 AM–Noon Eastern Time